Six American families whose relatives have been killed by illegal immigrants announced Tuesday the formation of a victims’ advocacy group, responding to what they see as indifference among elected officials to the dangers of illegal alien crime.
The members of Advocates for Victims of Illegal Alien Crime (AVIAC) say they are joining together in order to provide a support network for other families and to educate the public on the effects of lax immigration enforcement. The nonprofit organization plans to lobby Congress on a wide range of illegal immigration bills, including measures to punish sanctuary cities and provide funding for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. (RELATED: WH: Signing Anti-Illegal Immigration Bills Is A Priority)
In an emotional ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., mothers and fathers recounted stories of how their children were slain. Many laid blame for the killings at the feet of government officials, who they said have pursued sanctuary city policies in order to score political points.
“My son is dead because politicians in local jurisdictions have put illegal aliens ahead of Americans,” said Maureen Maloney, whose son Matthew was killed in Massachusetts in 2011, when an illegal alien ran him over in a hit-and-run incident.
“My son’s killer had a lengthy criminal record, and with each offense only received a slap on the wrist from lenient judges, and local law enforcement was prohibited from communicating with ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement],” she added. (RELATED: Nashville City Council Passes Bill Stopping Assistance To Feds On Immigration)
Iowa Republican Steve King, one of Congress’ most strident immigration hawks, praised the creation of AVIAC, saying that it will prod Congress to “restore the rule of law” to the U.S. immigration system. By documenting crimes committed by illegal immigrants, AVIAC will help “build a strong database, so America understands the price Americans have paid for the failure to enforce immigration law,” King said during introductory remarks at the AVIAC launch event.
In addition to support from King, AVIAC also has a willing ally in the White House. The group’s formation comes after Trump authorized the creation of Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE), an office within the Department of Homeland Security that provides support to the families of victims of removable criminal aliens. AVIAC co-founder and vice president Mary Ann Mendoza was invited to attend Trump’s signing of executive orders on immigration enforcement in January, and she was present at DHS Secretary John Kelly’s announcement of the VOICE office in April.
The families of AVIAC were encouraged by Trump’s tough rhetoric on illegal immigration during the campaign, especially his promises to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and to pull funding from cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. His stance was a welcome change from “former administrations who had not been doing that,” Mendoza told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Mendoza, whose son was killed by a drunk driving illegal alien on Mother’s Day 2014, believes AVIAC is needed because there has been a “backlash” from the media and some politicians to the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
“We are trying to get Americans to back our president up,” she told TheDCNF.
Members of AVIAC say shining a light on illegal alien crime is not intended to demonize all immigrants, as some critics have alleged, but rather to draw attention to the public safety problems caused by criminal aliens.
“The amount [of crime] that happens on a daily basis will stagger the American public when we start to get this information out there,” Mendoza told reporters at the National Press Club. “It’s time for American victims to be more important to their fellow Americans than illegal aliens that our in our country. It’s time to to stand up for your fellow Americans.”
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